A global box office haul of $364 million makes Shazam! the lowest grossing entry in Warner Bros' DC Extended Universe, but star Zachary Levi says his small scale superhero comedy performed "f—ing great" for a less famous DC Comics character.
"I've seen some of this stuff bandied about on the interwebs, and people saying that if you look at the numbers that we did as a movie, that it pales in comparison to some other movies that did insane amounts. But the truth is, for an origin story of a niche DC character, I think we did f—ing great," Levi said at FAN EXPO Canada when asked about Shazam's modest box office take. "I think we did really good."
"We didn't have a massive team-building movie and a decade's worth [of movies] to ride along, hold those coattails, we didn't have that going on," Levi added. Levi then said Shazam! is "kind of like a PG-13 Deadpool in a way," referencing the former Fox-controlled franchise whose premiere entry cost just $58 million to produce.
"Totally different movies, but if you think about it, Deadpool was so perfect because he was like in the Marvel universe but just over here [on the side], and kind of looking at the whole thing and commenting on all of it," Levi said. "We got to do that in the DC Universe and just have a little more fun with all of it, and I think that made it very special."
"So if you adjust for inflation and all that nonsense, then what you end up with is a pretty good pull for us and what we did at the box office," Levi said. "And more than that, I would say, a lot of times these movies, the first run of whatever these characters being introduced to the world, people have hesitations. And there are a lot of people that had hesitations when it came to, 'That geeky Chuck guy, he got to be Shazam?' That's right, motherf—ers!"
Jokes aside, Levi added, "I always knew it was going to be word of mouth that this movie was going to succeed." Now that Shazam! has been released on home media, continued word of mouth will contribute to the film's post-theater success: "That's where a lot of families [saw it]," Levi said.
Despite Shazam! skewing even more family-friendly than most superhero fare, some "couldn't bring their whole clan to the movie theater because it cost a million dollars and a sitter and parking and popcorn and everything, so they didn't go to the theater, and so they waited for home entertainment," he said. "And I think it's doing very well in that regard."
Levi previously reported Warner Bros. and producers New Line were "very happy" with Shazam! and are keen on developing a sequel "as soon as possible" because of quick-growing teen stars Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer. Filming on the sequel is expected to get underway in late spring or early summer 2020.